All the Souls of Sunday

All the Souls of Sunday

A Story by Duncan

a man is offered a deal by a demon


All the Souls of Sunday

David took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He re-examined the figures on the print out. He held it up to the light as if doing so would show something he misread but it didn’t. He walked over to his bookcase and pulled out one of his old textbooks from college then another. He scanned the index in the back of each one and laid them on his desk open to the pages he wanted. He put his glasses back on and scratched the small bald spot on the back of his head that he knew was getting bigger. He read the numbers again and sat with a thump into his cushioned chair. The faux leather grabbed him the way it did the day he decided to buy it. He lifted his glasses onto his forehead and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

The house was big. His family had money his whole life. This was the home he grew up in but he never seemed to have time for a family of his own. It was so quiet now. He glanced out his office window into the front yard to look at the for sale sign again. He had spent so much out of pocket on his research he couldn’t afford the place anymore.

His thoughts returned to the report he was working on. He thought about how unbelievable it was. He thought he needed to collect more data, but he knew this last year and half of core samples, soundings and measurements had pretty much covered it. There was no other way to interpret it. One day the coastal city of Sunday, California was going to fall into the pacific. Every quake was making the rocky aggregate between the continental plate and the rock Sunday was built on along with the rest of the tectonic plate more and more inundated with water turning it into slick mud. Eventually the weight of the rock piece that the city lay upon would be just too much. It would simply slide down into the ocean and be submerged. It would happen at the speed of gravity minus the resistance of the water and the slick mud on the plate. It would be over in minutes and lives would be lost or ruined and the only factor to consider anymore was time (when it would happen, not if.)

He walked to his kitchen in his untied terry robe, black socks, baby blue boxers and ribbed white tank top on. He opened his refrigerator and grabbed a chicken leg and put it in his mouth and grabbed a bottle of cola. From there he mechanically plodded to his back porch. He slid the door open and stepped outside. David’s back yard was quite nice with a sweeping view of the pacific. To the left he could see San Francisco and to the right up the coast he could see the lights of several smaller coastal towns, Sunday being one of them and below him was the PCH.

He chewed the chicken leg while sipping his cola. He tried to discern exactly which set of lights were Sunday. He was formulating how he would finish the paper he was writing. Thinking of less important things like fonts and spacing. He was trying to get the idea out of his head that at any minute so many lives would for lack of a better euphemism be washed away. David gnawed the ends of the chicken bone as he walked to the edge of his yard and threw it in the compost. He drank the last of his cola as he walked back to his house. He placed the empty bottle in the recycling and closed the sliding door as he stepped inside.

He could smell something right as he walked in. Something was burning but it smelled more like cigar and sulfur. David wasn’t a smoker of any kind so he knew it had to be something else. Then he thought… My papers!

He rushed to his study and was stopped in mid step by what he saw. Sitting in his nice faux leather chair was a middle aged man in a dark Enzo Custom suit. In one hand he had Davids printouts and the other was tending a fat cigar he methodically puffed at and pulled away from his face in a whirl of thick smoke. He had graying hair that was combed exquisitely. He wore a pair of brown Magnanni shoes that were crossed on Davids desk.

“David Baum,” He said in a friendly if not gravelly voice “I’d like to talk to you about your work.”

“Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” David asked in a direct if not a bit shaky voice.

“Easy, David. I’m a friend whether you know it or not. My name is Agares. I used to work in seismology and as a liguist. Lately I have been working as a legal aide.” The smoking man said.

“Is that greek? Agares?” David asked.

“No… thats not what’s important. Anyway, I am here to make you an offer you may not believe at first so let’s sit down. Lets have a drink, and lets talk a bit.”

“How did you get in my home?” David suddenly snapped to his faculties and remembered this man was a burglar of sorts. David picked up the phone and said “I’m calling the police”.

“David, please don’t do that. It’ll be a huge waste of time. I can assure you of two things,” Agares said puffing his cigar “one: I’m not here to hurt you, and two: The police will be busy with something elsewhere.”

“Who are you?” David pleaded.

“I am Agares. I told you that already. We have something to discuss. It could take a bit of time but I’m confidant you’ll want to hear me out at least. I kind of came a long way to check out your data. There are laws at work here much older than you may believe and I only want you to understand what is in play for you right now. It could be very lucrative for you.” Agares said while pinching his cigar in the corner of his mouth. David watched the red-orange end bounce and trail smoke as he spoke.

David heard the word lucrative and figured out this Agares character was from a university somewhere come to offer him a research position. He just couldn’t figure out how he got into his house.

David looked Agares in the eyes and asked, “OK, where are you from? How is it you know about my research results. California Institute of Technology, University of Colorado, Columbia?”

Looking Agares in the eyes that intensely was a bold move he learned in grad school. It usually worked to get him into an even keel with someone but Agares brown eyes though friendly were too deep, too stern and piercing and David was left feeling like a person was never meant to do that to him, and at the end he could have sworn there was a bit of a gleam or red flash in them for the briefest of moments.

“I’m not from any university, David. I’m here with an offer. A deal you might like. If, when I’m done, you don’t feel like you are interested I will go the way I came and I promise you will never see me again. You have my solemn word and that is yours for free without any obligation by you.” Agares smiled again. His teeth were bright white and straight. David figured he was from a wealthy family.

“Agares?” David said quizzically, “is it Italian?”

“No… David, what if I told you the name came from a time older than ancient Greece or Rome or even Egypt and China?” Agares asked.

“What? What do you mean?” David asked.

“There are laws older and with greater jurisdiction than your albeit educated as hell brain could process. David, I’m talking about truths that send men to early graves just by learning them. David,” Agares stood and put his arm around him. He seemed to coax David a bit to his chair so that he may have his seat back. “Let me explain some facts about the universe we live in and maybe more will make sense.”

Agares sat on the corner of Davids desk. Placed one elbow on his hand that was crossed over his body and used the other to puff his cigar a moment.

“The entire economy of the afterlife is based on the accumulation, distribution, and utilization of souls…”

Agares looked at David to guage his reaction, “ok, ok… your skeptical. You are a man of science. You want some empirical evidence. I can’t give you that until you die… unfortunately.” and with that Agares burst into a short bit of laughter, David didn’t join him.

“David, do you know what the term life debt means?” Agares asked.

“When someone saves someones life then they owe them for it?” David asked back.

Agares seemed to jump a bit as if surprised, “Yes, yes… exactly.” He said. “well that is an interpretation of a much, much older idea that took form in what you call the afterworld. You see, when you save a soul in this world that soul then belongs to you. It’s a bit of a simplification of the law but it conveys the heart of the idea.”

Agares reached down to the floor. He picked up a briefcase David hadn’t seemed to notice and placed it onto the desk. “Let’s get this part out of the way early,” He said and opened the case. It looked like in the movies when someone is paying a ransom or buying a large amount of drugs or something. It was filled wall to wall with bundles of hundred dollar bills.

David was amazed. He reached for one of the stacks and flipped through them. He couldn’t even guess how much money he was holding. He placed it back in the case and stared at it wide eyed. His glasses that had been on his forehead fell onto the bridge of his nose and made him jump a bit.

David asked “How much is there?”

“I honestly don’t even know. We stopped counting the money we get a long time ago.” Agares said. “Suffice it to say, money will not be a concern of yours if you accept the offer I am making you now.”

“offer?” David asked.

“Why do you think I’m here, David? Listen to me, By doing the due diligence of all those soundings and drillings and what not. When you did all that and discovered the phenomena created by the ice age glacial movement… you did put that together already right?” Agares asked. David looked like he had just been told something obvious but had been obscured to him. “Yeah, the rain wasn’t penetrating the top of the fissure that was filled with all that dirt and rock, not fast enough to dislodge it anyway. Oh, yeah.” Agares continued, “the end eroded away by the sea. It used to be a lot bigger and longer. Now, as you well know it’s just the right size and shape… well, sploosh, right?”

“Another freebee, David.” Agares said.

“Due diligence...?”David asked looking puzzled.

“Of course, the point.” Agares said. “With your discovery of the imminent peril that the city of Sunday faces you came into possession of all the souls contained there-in. This is law older than you can imagine.”

“If you know this already why aren’t you in possession of the souls?” David interrupted.

“Well, that’s the part that becomes difficult to explain. You see, David. You were born to Adam and Dierdre Baum fourty-one years ago. Your parents are two healthy well adjusted human beings.” Agares was trying to explain slowly. “When I was… conceived? It’s never easy to get past this part.” He snapped his fingers. “I’m kind of a different breed than you David. I’m older than you have any reason to believe. I am what a lot of religions might refer to as a demon.”

With that David jumped back from Agares. Agares stood and held one hand up holding the cigar and tried to move between David and the door.

“David I made a promise to you I wasn’t here to hurt you and I won’t. I am here to purchase all those souls from you. I have a lot of money for you already. That briefcase, David, tax free… every cent. It’s already yours with or without you accepting the deal. All I ask,” David was shaking his head and blustering about the ludicrousness of the meta-physical and the way science has consistently debunked the supernatural, Agares started back in again, “All I ask is that you hear me out.”

David laughed now and shook his fore finger at Agares, “You, you got a scam alright. I’ll tell you that. You know you never answered my question about why you don’t own them already...”

“Very perceptive and astute of you David, let me explain that.” Agares said.

“Humans have a sort of privileged place in the cosmos. Many things can be done by humans that is simply not allowed to the servitors… Angels and demons you see. Way back when, before there were humans things were a bit more static you know. A low steady wash of balance and it was just us and the big guy. Who knows why he did it, but he did. He started making things and giving us jobs to do. It worked great. Like winding up some toy car and letting it run across the floor. He built it and charged us with winding it up to put it in motion. I was put in charge of moving the big rock plates on the surface of the earth. Hey, it was fun work. Like being given permission to slowly break something someone that you fear and love had built and knowing he was never going jump your case about it.” Agares was almost lost in his own memories it seemed.

“So some of the guys were asked to make living things on the surface. They got this long as can be plan to slowly let things develop in the sea. The old man loved it. Patience is something he has more of than anything else so he rubber stamps the plan. I’m still out doing my plate moving gig but after a few million years I got a bit bored with it. I let things get hot and negligently let a bunch of magma channels erupt to the surface. So anyway after a while the plates were moving on their own from the magma deep in the earth and the gravity from the sun and moon and stuff.”Agares was deep in explaining and David as a geologist was intrigued.

“Well it’s pretty tough to get something past the big guy and when he noticed that things were happening on their own… for lack of a better metaphor I was let go from my position.”

“So, the land masses began to grow plants and eventually these gigantic lizards of just about any kind you could imagine were running around. Like I said, the big guy has patience but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have taste. He saw the lizards and said nope, I want something else so he goes way out from the planet and snatches a big ole rock and smacks it into a collision course with the planet. Blah, blah, blah… lizards are gone. Next thing, a short sixty-five million years later... Humans.” Agares smiled.

“The big guy took a decent shine to humans. He liked them a lot. He started re-assigning all of us who he had let go before and put us in charge of teaching the humans to be able to talk to each other. Some of us were salty about the millions of years we were out of work you know. Sure we all still retained our abilities the old man gave us but without a purpose it was kind of empty and felt pointless. Well, Humans had been given something special from the old man that no other creature in the history of time had been given. Souls, David. A soul is the most beautiful thing you could ever see. A soul makes not having a purpose from the big guy bearable. It makes finding a purpose… “Agares stopped and looked up and puffed his cigar. He seemed to be lost in bliss for a moment.

He gave a quick sigh and said, “After a human dies the soul is released. The human has no more use for it. Those of us with nothing to do were gathering them up. The more souls we had the better we felt. The big guy saw this and didn’t like that. So he came up with a way to make the souls come right to him and his goody goody cronies. There are lots of ways to get ‘em there now. He also came up with a lot of crazy ways to keep souls from us. Pledges, life debts, stuff like that. We are a lot of things but we follow the big guys rules. It’s all about his love. Theres a lot of it too. He still loves all of us. There are those among us who felt that he should love us more than humans. They thought that he loved humans more. I don’t see it to tell you the truth. He loves all the same as far as I can see. I can go right now to the kingdom. I would be accepted and loved there the same as I was in the beginning. That is the love he has for all of us. The thing about humans is you are so temporary but you have found a way to accomplish so much. The big guy saw it all coming I guess. He knew you would be special and wanted to reward that I guess. I don’t know. All that creativity and stuff comes at the cost of Humans needing free will like us. We can’t be effective if we are constantly waiting for orders so we are permitted free will. The big guy saw it worked so well for us he gave it to humans and gave them souls too.” Agares waved his hand to cut away the smoke that had built between them. He looked David in the eyes a second and asked, “Am I moving too fast? Am I losing you?”

David was silent. He blinked a few times. He then tried to look Agares in the eyes but couldn’t. He stammered a second then began to laugh and reach for his phone.

“I don’t know how you got in here but I do know that you are leaving now, mister… Agares? Turkish? Is it Turkish?” David was trying to be firm and not show how freaked out he was now. He wasn’t doing a very good job as he mashed buttons on the phone he was holding. Agares looked at him with a wry smile.

“David, nine-one-one is currently busy with an accident a few miles away. No one is there to respond to your intruder call. Now you can look at it as if there may not have been an accident if you never called or it could be that you were always meant to call and the accident is part of a bigger plan. We are never going to know,” Agares said.

“No one is answering. Its nine-one-one… HEY! Hey you ninnys, someone is in my home and won’t go. Hello…” David pleaded with his phone then rapidly hit the switch.

“David, look at this place. You are doing pretty well for yourself. No one has a land line anymore. Its all cell phones. Get with the times.” Agares said chuckling a bit.

David flashed him a look and felt that dread from making eye contact again. Agares smiled feeling amused at all this. David tossed his phone on the floor. He panted a bit. He was frustrated. He was angry. He was afraid.

“Goddamnit… What the hell do you want from me?”

“I already told you. All the souls of Sunday,” Agares said flatly.

“...And your offering me a bunch of money?” David asked.

“I already gave you money. I am offering you something better.” Agares made eye contact and David noticeably didn’t feel the dread. He opened his mouth to talk but nothing came out of his mouth. He tilted his head and stammered for a second.

“David, do you have a crush? Maybe a high school sweetheart the chose the quarterback over you? Maybe a loved one who passed too soon? David, you need to understand what I’m offering you here. I can make the impossible possible. For me this world is like modeling clay. I’m talented too. I can make your dreams come true, David. Just say it and I will do it. All I want is a few thousand souls of people you don’t even know. Oh, one other condition.” Agares sucked his teeth then said, “you can’t publish this report. You have to permit the natural progression of things.”

“You mean if I say I want Angelina Jolie you can get me Angelina Jolie?”

“It doesn’t quite work like that David. I can get you two together. I can create circumstances that would make her more receptive to you. I can not make her be in a relationship with you or even sleep with you.”

“Impossible possible, huh?” David jabbed at Agares. Agares smirked. Then said “I am good at this. I can make it so its all but a done deal for you but at some point you have to finish the deal yourself, but if you want Angelina...”

At the same moment Agares had said her name there was a knock at the door. Davids face lost its color. He walked to the door looking at Agares all the way there. He looked out of his peephole and could see a tallish slim woman with dark hair holding her phone to her ear but he couldn’t see her face. David looked to Agares again puzzled. Then he could hear her yelling into her phone.

“I don’t know Brad. I’m north of San Francisco somewhere. Can you just call for me.”

David couldn’t believe what was happening. He placed his hand on the door knob. Agares raised his hand toward David and began to speak again.

“If you open that door, David, you are accepting my deal.

Through the door David could hear her say “Theres some accident or something down the road. I swear every cop in this s**t suburb is there. You are the only person that answered. I need help, Brad”

David looked quizzically at Agares. Agares looked patiently at David. David stepped forward a few steps and pointed as more knocking came from the door.

“Wait, wait a minute. This is peanuts. This is nothing for you isn’t it?” David said.

Agares clapped his hands together in front of him and quickly rubbed his palms together.

“Now we’re talkin’ David. Lets get right to it then. What is it that you can’t have but have wanted your whole life?” Agares cheerily placed his arm around Davids shoulder and walked with him into the kitchen by the sliding door to the back yard. He could see a lit pool where grass had been. He could see three atractive young women in bright bikinis swimming and laughing.

“David, we’re waiting.” one of the girls sang to him.

“What? How?” David was puzzled again.

Agares grabbed the front waistband of his boxers and pulled them out so David could see down his pants. He didn’t recognize what he saw there. It wasn’t him. He was not that endowed and yet in his boxers was an adult film quality bit of manhood. He looked to the pool and the girls and Agares let his waistband snap back on his belly.

“So what happens tomorrow morning? I get a different life for a night, you get all those souls and thats that? Not much of a deal actually.”

“No, no. That wouldn’t be much of a deal at all. No, David, This is all for keeps if you want it. I can make your wildest dreams come true,” they continued down the hall to Davids bedroom. When they entered his bed was not there anymore. It had been replaced with all manner of chains and straps lying or hanging around a different bed with a young woman in a leather zippermask tied and wiggling around. She spoke something that was muffled by the mask and ground on the bed desperately.

“No,” he said “This isn’t me.” David said and shook his hands and stormed out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. The pool and the girls were gone. There were no more knocks at the door. Agares was beside him. They both looked out the sliding glass door. David was looking for the lights of Sunday but he wasn’t sure which ones they were.

“Alright, I have an answer for you...” David turned and looked at Agares. He made eye contact and for second time was bereft of that uneasy feeling.

One morning some time later David awoke to a thunderous noise and everything in his house shook. Things fell off shelves. The furniture moved. From the back of the house he heard the sounds of elementary school aged girls scream for their dad. A woman his own age placed her hand on Davids lap and gasped. All four of them trundled their way to the back yard. The ground had stopped shaking by now and the four of them stood in the yard up the hill from the PCH and watched as the city of Sunday slipped away into the ocean far off in the distance.

© 2020 Duncan

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Posted 11 Months Ago

Nice story sir. I enjoy the premise, the irreverence, and the laid back demeanor of the demon. I would like more though. The ending is too abrupt and I feel like the earlier insight of the protagonist (that he regrets not having a family) should be explored more so that the final choice he makes has more impact. That said- a great read. Four stars brother, keep up the good work.

Posted 11 Months Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on May 19, 2020
Last Updated on May 19, 2020



Bay City, MI

Just a guy who likes to write in his spare time more..